By Kathryn Bossart
My family is on our 3rd cross-country move in 4 years.
In 2016, we left the desert of Yuma, AZ for school in the Deep South of Alabama.
2017, we left AL for San Diego.
This summer, we are back to Alabama.
My husband got back from an extended deployment not even 12 weeks before we started this whole process. With the work ups for the deployment, and the work he put in before those even started, we had essentially not seen daddy for about 18 months.
He set up the move right after post deployment leave ended, in March. Pack out May 28th. Pick up May 31st. Delivery June 25th.
This year, we bought a camper. 30ft. We moved into it May 28, after all of our belongings were packed in boxes and tears were shed by a 4 year old not really grasping what was going on, a 10 year old whose favorite toy had accidently gotten packed, our almost 7 year old over her blankets, and our autistic 8.5 year old over being forced to select only 2 bats to take from her bat collection.
We have 2 dogs and 4 guinea pigs. We found a neighbor to take our 7 fish. It wouldn’t work trying to move them too. For a yearlong school, crammed into student housing without a garage, setting up a fish tank isn’t feasible.
We spent 10 days on the beach in Del Mar while our girls finished up school, we cleaned the base house, and my husband checked out. June 8th, after packing up and cleaning pigs, we officially leave SoCal, the first place since my hometown in West Virginia where I really felt home.
We made it to Barstow, CA for the night, then drove across desert through Las Vegas, hitting the tip of Arizona and traffic where my oldest gets car sick, stopping for our next night just inside Utah. We have to stop every 100 miles for gas with towing the camper. Somewhere along this route I have to spilt up my 4 year old Honey Badger and her sisters from the fighting. We move car seats and the Badger is alone with my husband, in solitary away from them. She has that special 4-year-old skill of managing to annoy and start fights with all of them. Next day, repeat, taking in the dusky earthen landscapes of Utah, their sandy hills and plateaus, stopping in Grand Junction, Colorado. I’m worn out, so worn out that I order a 30-inch giant pizza not realizing how big that really is, plus extra pizzas and salad while my husband is out buying local beer.
Much to my girls’ dismay, we have pizza for breakfast in the morning while my husband and I clean out the plastic Rubbermaid bins with air holes that he has drilled in for the pigs.
We find out on the 14th that our stuff arrived in Alabama that day, June 11th.
We do our detour part of this adventure, leaving Grand Junction and heading north west to Estes Park, CO. Our previous cross country moves we have always taken the 40 or the 10/8. We decided to head north this time, see parts of the country we haven’t criss-crossed 5 times.
We stay 3 nights, soaking in the Rockies, hiking in all three environments of the park. I loved it and him and our family time so much that I might have spent our last morning there looking up how far away the Canadian border was. We clean cages again and leave for Kansas.
I think they would have extradited him anyway.
The Rockies drop out of sight in my rear view, the temperature rises to well above 80, and Colorado flattens out to where I can’t even tell the difference between it and Kansas. The farms and fields go on forever. We see a massive storm on our right side and now I have three girls panicking and afraid that we are going to get hit by a tornado.
We get an email, not a phone call, that our household goods are in Alabama and they need an address for delivery. We respond, call and leave a voicemail. It is June 14th.
We stay the night in Kansas, walking to a local restaurant for dinner. On our way back, the sky darkens, the temperature drops, and the winds pick up. My husband and girls take turns pretending to be tornados and taking each other out. The skies open up and the winds start really whipping around not even 5 minutes after we get into our camper.
Our oldest starts praying and breathes her way into a panic attack, which sets off everyone else. We show the radar, the thunderstorm warning, not a tornado one, the app we have downloaded to alert us to any tornados. The WiFi never even goes out. It’s too late. The girls have seen Storm Chasers more than the Wizard of Oz. The dogs pee in their bedding. I lie in bed, debating on a round of shots made of liquid Benadryl for all.
We wake up to over tired kids, 2 dogs who are completely over life and snapping at kids by this point, and miles of hot, flat roads to get to my in laws in Stillwater, OK.
It’s Saturday, June 15. We arrive in Oklahoma; get to bathe the pigs with their dog shampoo, and clean cages. The kids and dogs get loved on and spoiled. They get 6 whole nights of sleeping in real beds.
Monday, June 16th we call and leave another message. We send another email. We clean cages. We finally talk to a real person on Wednesday, June 18th.
They cannot get our goods out of storage until July 18th. There will be no June 25th delivery date.
My husband starts his school on July 8th. His school starts before the others on the base. We have an appointment to sign for our base house June 24th. The girls start school August 1 and need shots. We frantically toss around ideas of what to do. Leave the kids in OK? Split them up? Leave the animals with my in laws? My parents have cats; we can’t bring them up there. The school he was selected for is difficult, stressful, and requires tons of reading. This was not part of the plan. In 10 moves in 15 years, a delay this long has never happened to us.